Waking Life

“They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn’t you say the same thing about life?” — Waking Life

Here’s my illustration that was featured in the Graphika Manila 2012 Book. In preparation for a series of paintings I’ll be doing, I wanted to work on something that explores the concept of dreams, mixed with emotions I’ve been observing.

With this piece in particular, I wanted to depict those moments when you’ve just woken up and are trying to find your bearings. Your mind is cloudy, and you feel confused about what’s real because your dream reality is mixing up with real life.

There may even be those times when you’ve just gone through some life-changing developments which might not be the happiest, and you contemplate hindering your brain from piecing together the truth you may not wish to face. You find yourself wanting to sink back into the comfort of uncertainty in some alternate dream world, or the peaceful void of unconsciousness. But you’ve got to pick yourself up and keep living.

In case you were wondering — The quote below the artwork is from a film called Waking Life, which is wonderfully thought-provoking. The animation can get a little too trippy sometimes, but you can choose to just listen to the movie since it’s basically a series of conversations. I have very fond feelings for this film. It caused a big shift in my perception of certain things, made me feel like I wasn’t such an odd schmuck for thinking a certain way, and helped keep my mind open to possibilities beyond my wildest imaginings.

Sketching into the wee hours of the night. My spirits were kept up by a cup of hot chocolate with rainbow marshmallows.

The artwork in its earlier stages. The final piece was rendered with graphite, watercolor and digital.

Despite my rainbow marshmallows, I feel this post is a bit too serious. Now I feel this would be a great time to share a recent dream experience. I usually don’t remember much of my dreams, but this one I recalled quite vividly. I typed out a very long description of it for my friends, but I’ll spare you guys and share the abridged version. Some of you might have read a bit about this on my Twitter, hahah.

The other day I dreamt that I was at Comic Con, and I was dressed up as some sort of fighter. I kind of remember it looking like something out of Granado Espada. I was partaking in the usual convention fun, and then SUDDENLY THERE WAS AN INVASION OF EVIL CREATURE THINGS. And to my surprise, the people whom I thought were just dressed up as wizards suddenly had actual wizard powers. Given the way I was dressed, I was asked to fight with them. And I distinctly remember yelling, “I HAVE NO DISCERNABLE FIGHTING SKILLS!” Even in my dreams I’m an awkward human being.

After the worst of the invasion was over, I was suddenly attacked by a lizard man (in Renaissance clothes that matched the aesthetic of mine) who was angrily screeching how he would not let me foil his plans again. While I should have been pondering about when I might have previously foiled the reptilian gentleman’s plots, I was rather preoccupied as he was strangling me and at some point had bitten my right leg. When I shut my eyes in pain, I discovered I had a skill interface in my head — the sort you’d see in turn-based RPGs. Surging with adrenaline, I somehow managed to use these skills, and with incredible might and magic bashed the reptilian gentleman’s head in. And then I woke up, and my right leg hurt where he had bitten me. The end.

In other news!

Here are some newer ways you may keep up with my updates, should you want to:

Sorry about the silence back there! I’m working on a lot of things, but hardly any I can make public just yet!

As always, thank you for taking the time to take a peek over here! Hearing the simplest things from you guys makes me happy, so feel free to comment if you’d like to!

12 Comments to “Waking Life”

  1. Your Friend, The Moon says:


  2. Angelo Gomez says:

    Hey Jin
    Beautiful piece! I was really captured by your concept of those seconds of dreams clashing with reality the moment we awake. Thank you for sharing it! I’ll definitely look for it whenever I get my hands on the Graphika Manila 2012 Book.

  3. Sandra says:

    JIN, it’s absolutely stunning. I love how, despite the detail being confined into one corner there is a maximum amount of detailing; i always love your cloudlike abstractions because they feel so organically you. Thsi palette is a lot more subdued than your usual work so it feels a bit more grim and heavy than usual, but it translates your theme perfectly.

    Love ette, love you, have a good Sunday! :D

    • Jin says:

      Thank you so much, Sandee! I definitely put more restraint on my coloring for it to be more appropriate to my concept, and I’m glad the effort was appreciated! If style is about the things we can’t help doing, then these cloud formations are part of mine!

      Love you too!

  4. sasha says:

    i love your work. It always looks so delicate and pretty! please post more here! :)

  5. Sleepy says:

    Why doesn’t the person have a whole head and why isn’t he/she pay attention to the sun that looks like it’s about to turn into a cloud? I will be really happy if youcan answer those questions!

  6. Elaine Ramos says:

    What a beautiful piece! :)

  7. Ian says:

    grabe this is inspiring – ian

  8. Mo says:

    Is that Swiss Miss Marshmallow Madness Hot Chocolate? :)

Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

A preview of your comment will appear below as you type.